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History of CBD

CBD has had a strong connection with humans for thousands of years. Records have shown we have been cultivating cannabis since almost 4000 years BCE. Scientists and physicians began studying the medical benefits of cannabis in the early 20th century. In the mid-1950s, when scientists found an extraction method for cannabidiol and proved that CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, the legal battle for CBD began. Now, almost 6000 years since the first cannabis cultivation, it is now legal in many countries around the world and in all 50 states of the United States.

Cannabis and hemp come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. However, the cultivation and use of the plant determine whether the plant is the colloquial cannabis (your everyday pot) or more industrial hemp (used in textiles, papers, and ropes). Early Chinese records show hemp as a primary crop:

“‘From the time of the earliest primitive societies (about 4,000–5,000 years ago) to the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC to 220 AD) ancient Chinese techniques of hemp sowing, cultivation, and processing developed rapidly and became fairly advanced’’’ (Lu and Clarke 1995) [1].

Records from 1533 show that King Henry VIII required that for every 60 acres of land, each farmer must set aside a ¼ acre for hemp cultivation (otherwise face a fine of three shillings and four pence) [2]. Similarly, in colonial America, it was illegal for farmers to not grow hemp. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson demanded that an “acre of the best ground” be kept to grow hemp [3]. Colonists came to America on ships that used hemp ropes and drafted the Constitution on hemp paper. Cannabis continued to spread and grow throughout the world, with both its industrial and psychoactive effects being noted.

Although cannabis has integrated into human society, the legal and medical uses of CBD seen today are more of a recent phenomenon.  As early as 1563, Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta observed that:

“Those of my servants who took it … said that it made them so as not to feel work, to be very happy, and to have a craving for food”.

Around the same time, Chinese doctor Li Shizhen documented the anti-nausea effects of cannabis [4]. A common story is that Queen Victoria used to smoke cannabis in order to ease her menstrual cramps.

The TRUE history of CBD did not start until 1940 when American organic chemist Roger Adams isolated the CBD compound. In 1960, Israeli organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam both isolated and described the chemical structure of CBD, thus enabling chemists to confirm that CBD was a nonpsychoactive constituent of cannabis. By the mid-1970s, the British Pharmacopoeia was referring to CBD tinctures for medical use [5]. The medical effects of CBD were really publicized in America once the story of Charlotte Figi appeared [6], in which a young girl’s rare seizure disorder was treated by a CBD potent treatment. A specific strain of cannabis was thus created called “Charlotte’s Web” which has become one of the highest selling strains because of its high percentage yields of CBD.

Today, CBD research is booming around the world. It has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, promote sleep, and encourage a happier and healthier life.

Want to see how CBD can change your life? Head on over to our shop and browse our collection of CBD products.


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